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Dozens killed, many missing after coal mine fire in Kazakhstan

At least 28 workers have died in a fire at a Kazakhstan coal mine operated by ArcelorMittal Temirtau, according to the Ministry for Emergency Situations.

After what appeared to be a methane blast, 206 of the 252 people at the Kostenko mine had been evacuated, with 18 needing medical assistance, the company said in a statement on Saturday. Some 21 people had still not been located by 2pm local time.

The fire is the latest in a string of workplace deaths at sites operated by ArcelorMittal Temirtau. In August, four miners were killed after a fire erupted at the same mine, while five people died following a methane leak at another site in November 2022.

In a statement on Saturday, Kazakh President, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, said his government is ending its investment partnership with Arcelormittal. He expressed condolences to the victims’ families and declared a national day of mourning on October 29.

The government added that it was finalising a deal to nationalise the company, which operates the country’s biggest steel mill. ArcelorMittal confirmed that in its own statement.

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